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Older people say yes to a smart future

19th October 2018

  Major nationwide survey reveals that people over the age of 65 are the most likely age group to own a smart meter

Smart Energy GB today publishes the latest edition of Smart energy outlook, the largest independent study of national public opinion on energy and smart meters.

The nationwide survey into the opinions of almost 10,000 people in Great Britain, carried out by Populus, has shown that people over the age of 65 are the most likely age group to own a smart meter - with almost a quarter of those surveyed owning the new devices.

The survey showed a similar level of uptake of smart meters amongst people using prepay, with nearly a quarter saying they had already upgraded to the new technology, and 86 per cent of those on smart prepay likely to recommend them to family and friends.

The Smart energy outlook report also found that:

  • Awareness of smart meters has never been higher, with 98 per cent of people across Great Britain claiming they are aware of the new meters

  • The majority (83 per cent) of people with smart meters say they have a better idea of what they’re spending on energy

  • Two thirds (67 per cent) of those who have already had smart meters installed in their home claim they are more conscious of their energy use
  • Eight in ten (81 per cent) of people with smart meters say they have taken at least one step to use less energy

  • Almost half (44 per cent) of people in Great Britain who don’t yet have a smart meter want to get one within the next six months. That’s almost 15 million people who want to upgrade and join the millions of others who are already becoming part of a cleaner and greener Britain

Government figures show there are now more than 12 million smart meters installed across Great Britain. Smart energy outlook found that seven in ten people who have a smart meter would recommend them to family and friends. That’s equivalent to 7.2 million people who would recommend a smart meter.

The research comes as the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) launches the first ever Green GB week. The week aims to highlight the opportunities clean growth offers the UK and to promote how we can all do our bit to tackle climate change – such as by getting a smart meter to help reduce energy waste at home.

Claire Perry, Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, said:

“This research shows older consumers are even more likely to have smart meters installed in their homes than their tech-savvy grandchildren, giving them the opportunity to take control of their energy use and save money on their bills.

“Everyone who wants a smart meter should be able to feel the benefits, and just last week, Energy UK outlined an innovative collaboration across industry to bring the benefits of smart meters to blind and partially sighted people.

“This momentum shows smart meters are the cornerstone of a smarter energy system fit for the future and with awareness of these handy devices higher than ever before, this technology revolution will help shape the way we all live for the better.”

Mervyn Kohler, External Affairs Manager at Age UK, said:

“Smart meters are helping older people across the country to save money on their energy bills and take steps towards reducing their energy waste.

“I’m delighted that so many older people are upgrading to a technology which ends the era of inaccurate, estimated bills and crawling under the stairs to read their meter.”

Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive of Smart Energy GB, said:

“It’s great to see so many older people throughout Great Britain getting a smart meter installed in their home, and harnessing the ability to be cleaner and greener with their energy use.

“This report makes clear that people with smart meters have a much better understanding of their energy consumption and would happily recommend them to their family and friends.

“Smart meters are revolutionising the way we engage with our energy and are a vital upgrade to our outdated infrastructure. Every person who opts for a smart meter is helping Britain towards its smarter future.”

-ENDS-

Interviews and filming available with case studies (below) and Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive of Smart Energy GB.

Case studies

Heather, 80, and Frank Phillips, 84, from Dartford

Heather and Frank live in Dartford with their two rescue cats, Rusty and Homer. Before getting their smart meter, they would leave their living room lights on for 3 hours or more each night so their cats could find their way back in the dark.

They said: “When we got our smart meter from our energy supplier and saw exactly how much it was costing us in pounds and pence to leave those lights on every night, we both realised that we needed to make a change. Frank didn’t want to stop leaving the lights on for the cats, so instead we replaced the bulbs with an energy saving variety, which led to an immediate reduction in our energy bills.

“Now we’re all happy – Frank gets to keep the lights on for the cats, I’m content in the knowledge that it’s costing us a fraction of what we were spending before, and Rusty and Homer always find their way home at night.”

Troy Teincken, 34, from Llanelli

Troy is on smart prepay and uses his smart meter to monitor how much energy his family are using every day. He loves that he can now top up his credit from the comfort of his own home. Troy lives with his wife and four young children in Llanelli.

Troy said: “Our old prepayment meter was a nightmare, so we couldn’t wait to upgrade. We had to go down to the shop to top up all the time and there were numerous occasions when I had to ring my mother to drive us to the garage to buy credit because the lights had gone out in the middle of the night. Now with the smart meter, we can see exactly how much energy we’re using and when we are coming close to our chosen daily maximum, which we try to stay below when we can.”

Notes to editors

Smart energy outlook is carried out for Smart Energy GB, twice a year, by independent research agency Populus. It surveys almost 10,000 people aged 21+ around the country using a bespoke online survey.

About Smart Energy GB

Smart Energy GB is the voice of the smart meter rollout. It’s our task to help everyone in Great Britain understand smart meters, the national rollout and how to use their new meters to get their gas and electricity under control. Our national campaign is reaching households and microbusinesses in England, Scotland and Wales.

About smart meters and the rollout

Smart meters replace the traditional meters we currently have in our homes. They enable accurate bills, near real time information on energy use in pounds and pence, and greater control over the way we buy and use energy. The smart meter rollout is an essential technology upgrade, unprecedented in its scale, to improve Great Britain’s energy infrastructure.

There are already more than 12 million smart meters installed in homes and microbusinesses across Great Britain. Every household in England, Scotland and Wales will be offered one at no additional cost. Contact your energy supplier about getting your smart meter.

Smart Energy GB media contacts

For more information including interview requests, case studies of smart meter users, infographics, photography and video content please contact the Smart Energy GB media team:

Sophie Docker: [email protected]; 0203 019 1077 / 07522 230 907

Billie Robinson: [email protected]; 0203 019 1055 / 07921 852 531